Football players can gain foot strength from ballet.
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
A talented football player can make the game look graceful; however, this full-contact sport is often considered brutal. Players require specialized training to succeed on the field. One type of unexpected training, ballet lessons, can improve football skills and boost player performance. You won't see football players doing pirouettes on the gridiron after taking ballet, but they will be stronger and more coordinated.
Core strength is critical for body stabilization. Workouts designed for football players often include exercises such as side planks and physio ball rollouts, but ballet lessons will also help strengthen the core region. Doing ballet works the abdominal and other core muscles. While core workouts like you would find in ballet are considered important to football performance, a study published in the November 2008 issue of the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Science" indicates that core strength does not matter a great deal in football training.
Leg strength equates to speed, and football players require speed on the field. Football training programs incorporate strength workouts to build the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and hips, but you can also get similar benefits from taking ballet. Ballet moves such as the classic releve, side-lying passe, kneeling hinge, leg circles at the barre and seated attitude lift elongate and strengthen leg muscles. These routines will also help football players improve speed.
Developing foot strength helps with agility, jumping and speed -- three things a football players needs for top performance. Foot strength is especially important for placekickers and punters. Doing ballet naturally strengthens feet, an area of training often overlooked in football workouts. Isolation exercises and footwork during regular practice will result in strong, supple foot muscles.
Football players need good coordination to run, catch passes and dodge the opposition during a game. Coordination also contributes to reaction time, a key skill on the football field. Football training programs might include hand-eye coordination exercises as well as exercises to improve balance. Incorporating ballet lessons into your training increases coordination in a similar manner -- a study published in the May 2011 issue of "Gait and Posture" suggests that ballet dancers achieve increased coordination due to neuromuscular control gained through training.